“I won’t stop until I’ve kicked 101 dalmatians,” vowed Fleming.
Photo by Sophie Pubb
At the start of every year, many Americans resolve to improve themselves in the months ahead. But for Brody Fleming, a junior at John Muir College, 2023 offers a different kind of opportunity: the chance to become the most “disgusting and amoral” person that he can be.
“Everybody talks about self-improvement. Nobody ever talks about conscious self-deterioration,” Fleming said, turning away to urinate out the window of his eighth- floor apartment onto unsuspecting pedestrians below. “So many people try to become better and give up almost immediately. I’m setting goals for myself that I can actually achieve.” While Americans across the country plan to eat healthier or give up their vices, Fleming plans to commit various acts of cruelty while eating at least five pounds of processed meat a day and selling an astounding variety of controlled substances outside of an elementary school.
Retrieving a black box from under his bed, Fleming proudly displayed a sprawling drug kit containing cocaine, speed, acid, PCP, mescaline, ketamine, magic mushrooms, marijuana, molly, Extra Strength Children’s Tylenol, pregabalin, 4FMA, tianeptine, NEP, datura, kratom, and asbestos cigarettes. “These little suckers look exactly like butterscotch,” Fleming said, indicating a paper-wrapped cannabis dab. “Those kids at Stoner Elementary won’t know what hit them. AWAWAOAWAWEE!”
Packing another gram of ketamine into a Play-Doh container, Fleming continued, “I tried all of it, man. I tried reading every self-help book there is. I tried dieting, exercise, and spiritual enlightenment. I couldn’t make myself stick to it. Everyone gives up on becoming better. It’s hard to give up on becoming worse. And I can do it fast, too. I can satiate my sickest inner desires instantly — screaming at small children that their parents do not love them, or stealing Amazon packages off people’s doorsteps. Why waste time reading more books when you can derive perverse enjoyment from doing whatever you want, whenever you want?”
Busquous Leander Chiffarobe, a philosophy lecturer at UC San Diego and former pope of a UFO religion, says that Fleming’s New Year’s resolution is an unusual response to a common problem. “Who actually gives a shit about New Year’s resolutions? Lord knows I don’t. I told myself that this year was going to be the year I stopped sniffing glue. Look how that’s going,” Dr. Chiffarobe said, retrieving a bottle of non-toxic Elmer’s school glue from his desk drawer and inserting it into his nostril.
At this point, Fleming burst into the room, imitating the mating call of a barbary macaque and hitting several people over the head with a big steel pipe. Dr. Chiffarobe leapt up, shot Fleming with the taser that he keeps on his person for such situations, then re-seated himself and continued talking. “I think as a society we have no frame of reference for how much time and effort personal growth actually takes,” Dr. Chiffarobe said, nudging Fleming with his foot to ensure he was thoroughly incapacitated. “We have self-help books, videos, talks, brochures, songs, spoken-word poems, trap anthems, fake antique parchment scrolls, eight-track tapes, hypnosis CDs — all trying to sell you on some gimmick that is supposed to make you a better person in a few weeks. But when it doesn’t work, many people understandably become disillusioned. That being said, Mr. Fleming’s behavior is inexcusable. He is, frankly, a piss boy.”
Fleming, writhing on the floor and suffering from the aftereffects of a powerful electric shock, groaned, “Smoke so much weeder! Smoke so much weeder!”
“The truth is there are no quick fixes. Each individual’s path to salvation is different and must be discovered by long journeys and persistent efforts,” Dr. Chiffarobe said, sniffing more Elmer’s glue. “But who has time for that, really? I wanna watch Survivor.”